Archived at: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=rngrdead
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes.
Summary: Exquisite statue… admirer… magic… and everything changes.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Both figures were glowing white to the point of being hurtful to his good eye to look at. He dropped his gaze but not before noting the male and female pigeon pair, identical in all but gender.
The male addressed him, “Human you have made yet another plea for the angel you now call lover.”
“Yes… I guess… he’s not well and I… just want to make it better! Please how can I…?”
“Stupid boy! An angel cannot remain in the full form for all of each day – it is simply not possible! Your wish enabled it for a time, and you both deserved the pleasure, but it is not sustainable. You have condemned him to demise. Swift and love filled perhaps but he will depart you featherless and in pain within months if forced to live as he is.”
“No!!!! I didn’t wish for that… I um… and … oh f#%$ but… it’s Spike! No you can’t – not when he’s doing so much good!”
The female of the pair spoke “So, you wish to keep him with you?”
“Yes well… *no*!!! There must be another way!”
“And you love him?”
“Of *course* I do!”
“Then, if it is your wish that he not depart your company, we offer you the choice. Allow him to return to his inert state and allow him to visit you only as you dreams until the day you give up your last breath, or alternatively join him for all time in his former state, acting on our behalf during the night and inert in the day. Do you understand the choice?”
“Ummm sort of… not really…”
The female looked at the human with utter disdain, then began to speak very slowly as though to a simpleton, “Either you never see him alive again, but will be the protector of the beautiful statue until you die. Or you are together for all time though your mortal existence will be forfeit if you choose that path. If you choose the latter, you will be immortal like your lover but have duties, and regain your energy and centre in the day, condemned to the necessary state of stone.”
Xander’s choice was instant, he could not do without Spike, not now. “Please… I’m happy to work for you but *please*! If we are both stone – can we at least touch in the day? Please… at least that much.”
“Sister, let us make a little compromise… I would be happy, given this human’s history, that they may reside together in the day.” The female entity grumbled a little but nodded.
The male addressed him again. “You will have time to get your affairs in order, live each day as your last, but it is up to you to call us. After that your status will be altered for all time. Take care when you do that – though I think you will know. You have requested and agreed to this path – there is no withdrawing now.” Despite his sister’s disgust the male added, “Live every day like your last… and remember… you *will* know the time.”
Xander woke abruptly. His angel was still quiet, but another four feathers were on the ground.
The following day Xander returned to work on the building site and this time put every effort into his full duties, despite any pain incurred. In the end it was Julius who asked him to slow down. Xander had a reputation for hard work and smiling and being the one who cheered on others but this Xander… this Xander was so cheery it worried Julius. When he said as much to his wife she shushed him. Xander was fast becoming a favorite in the village – and his lovely lodger from England was such a sweetheart! She positively had shivers when he touched her!
The former Scoobie’s life took on a bizarre quality as his partner’s faded and he tried to tie up all the things that should be… In the end he made a formal Will, planned a simple funeral, and left the majority of his money to a small gallery in Gajeta to bankroll a ‘grotto’ that they had been trying to gain funds for. The exhibits – much of Minassos work and some of other regional artists - hosted in a garden, but each sculpture undercover, protecting both observer and sculpture from the elements.
When Xander rang Willow, all he did was thank her for her friendship and ask her not to forget him. She was rather strange, asked him what was wrong, then *kept* asking “What’s wrong honey?? Please tell me what’s wrong?!” Strangely he ended up (though in tears) repeating it all again on Email “Nothing, just needed to tell you.”
“OK well sweetie know that I love you for all of time… you do know that yeah?”
Xander felt the tug, not urgent, just there, “Gold plated. Willow loves me. Got it.”
That night, his dear partner lost more than twenty feathers, and was looking more and more drawn.
Five days later, Spike arrived home so exhausted that he landed in an inanimate heap, was too weak to even raise his head and had to be carried into the house.
Xander bathed and tended his dear partner, but just as he had come to predict, found more feathers in a trail wherever the angel went. Spike could feel himself failing and visited the priest in his sleep – to thank him. He touched the young man and wished him well. Spike felt it. He was a good soul. The powers felt the message. The town was well looked after.
Xander rang Dawn in Rome, and as usual, everyone was out. He left an obscure message, “And a hug for Buffy too”. The gist was, “Hope you find happiness. Know you’re busy.” But by the time the girls would get it … well he wasn’t sure where or how he would be.
Davina watched the slow transition from happy, ever sharing, new addition to their town to a quiet almost reclusive man. When she learned that his English friend had “been forced by personal circumstances to withdraw”, she drew her own conclusions for Xander’s malaise.
Iliais had come to love the boy like a son and worried as he became thinner, then thinner again. If only he knew… Xander’s worry was that Angel!Spike was not only thinner, but also dropping feathers at alarming rate as his ‘life force’ was offered to small children (particularly) and adults in trouble, in nightly acts of mercy.
At the end of the third week following the conversation with the Powers, Xander found his dear love collapsed in the vineyard just north of them around two in the morning. But this time it was not just collapsed, but so stressed that the angel was unconscious for nearly forty hours. At the end of that time, as his dear love stood, Xander could see that Spike had but half his previously glorious feathers.
Davina noticed Xander’s grieving and worried for him – though knew nothing of the real cause as the glamour had dropped and Spike forced to hide from those he was charged to help.
It was around midnight and Xander had followed Spike on foot – worried by the pain groan as the angel once more launched himself into the sky to answer the call. The human watched with pride as the beautiful angel flew overhead holding a now sleeping four year old that had wandered away from a picnic earlier in the evening. The entire family and most of the town had been out looking for her, the poor parents convinced she had headed for the water and probably drowned. In fact Spike had found her sleeping in a small olive grove only a kilometer or so from the party venue.
But just as Xander began to think his lover was recovered, he was horrified as his dear angel began to plummet – plumage no longer able to support his weight and that of his charge.
The rescue should have been easy but given the speed of decent and the starting point, but Xander instantly realized that there was more than one issue afoot. The little girl would die if she fell from the height and his partner would be critically injured for sure. He immediately invoked the request to the Powers, felt a strange sensation in his back but didn’t question as instinct took over, wings expanded and he embraced his change.
He caught the two on the way to the ground, placing the little girl on the rear doorstep of her grandmother’s home and rang the cow bell. The grandparents were overjoyed to find the rather bewildered little love standing on their back porch and the news of her return spread like wildfire. Two desperate parents were soon embracing their daughter and *being* embraced by all who had searched frantically along with them (plus neighbours and emergency services staff just for good measure).
Meanwhile, Xander had returned to lift his dear ill angel to their bed. As he settled his sweetheart he felt strange. Spike too felt an odd sensation and then the very familiar hot and cold, and watched in horror as his form began to disintegrate, Spike’s last thoughts before black being, “Bloody hell, not again!”
The human form of Alexander Lavelle Harris was found deceased in his bed the following morning – apparently he had died between six and nine hours earlier. There was no sign the previous night’s wings.
His dear friend Davina had ‘popped in’ with her own key (willingly provided by Xander) late on the Friday to drop off a quiche (had to get the boy to eat *something*!). She immediately realized something was not right. All was silent, even though she called twice, so she walked through the house, and found Xander on the couch. He was apparently asleep, but in fact was stiff and cold to the touch.
It was impossible! She made a panicked call to the local emergency services, who were there in minutes and declared him dead. The coroner would later report that an aneurism in the brain had robbed them all of one of Gajeta’s favorite foreigners, a man who had in such a short time, truly become one of the town’s treasured ‘sons’.
Father Andreas led the distressing funeral service. The close knit community was used to saying farewell the old and infirm, to the worried or the sick… but this man was young, fit and had been nothing but helpful and supportive; he had slipped easily into all of their lives; happily struggling to learn the language; and always so thankful of any small kindness.
Father Andreas prayed at the end of the service, himself struggling with the blessing, and stopping twice as his own tears welled up. The congregation was with him as a heartfelt plea was made that Xander might find peace and happiness in the next life.
There were five foreigners at the back of the service, the elderly gent and a white headed youngish woman both needing assistance when it came time to leave. Illias and Julius joined the dear Englishman as he fell to his knees with unfettered grief as the coffin was lowered into the grave to rest.
Giles’ command of Italian was rudimentary in his stressed state but as Illias arm went around the stranger he simply said, “He was as close to a son as I will ever have.” Then collapsed into a full hug with the old fisherman, who himself was crying quite openly. They held the embrace for many minutes until finally needing to move from the edge of the resting place as more earth needed to be added.
Willow was helped up the hill, comforted by Dawn and Buffy, the women drawing strength from Buffy’s partner the Immortal, and all five ‘outsiders’ graciously hosted by Davina and Ron who were holding the after service function at their lovely B&B.
For many weeks and months afterwards, the old Sunnydale friends speculated that Xander knew something was wrong – his financial affairs were completely in order, and they had all had loving phonecalls in the month or so previous, but all eventually discounted the notion as silly.
Two months after the funeral, Minassos was inspired to carve another unusual piece and this time two full sized male angels emerged from the rock, both had magnificent six foot plus, full length wings. It was the first piece to be included in the new, trendy, outdoor gallery funded in part by the recently deceased A.L.Harris.
Laz himself was rather surprised. The piece simply seemed to emerge of its own volition!
The white marble sculpture was that of two angels embracing. Their gender would be argued about for decades as the long locks and pretty features confused many an observer. But its beauty was never questioned. The angels were in such a tight embrace that their wings were almost touching – and certainly covered the fact that their nether regions were resting against each other. Pretty faces were obscured by the fact that the pair both had a cheek on the other’s shoulder, and had lips pressed to their lover’s neck in a tender kiss.
Spike knew the feeling, but Xander was initially too overwhelmed to process the sensations as his eyes were carved and form polished.
On the first night after their finishing polish, with only the moon to light the workshop, two sets of wings stretched out to their full span, two heads lifted and mouths met and hand ran over perfect male forms in wonder.
What noone saw nightly after that, was the two lovers emerge after dark to once again consummate their adoration for each other before taking off to answer the call of their masters. Nightly, his beautiful angel took off and now Xander joined him to make blissful and passionate love mid air before performing their duties, or after a particularly critical night simply lying in quiet repose with him stroking feathers and being stroked before they had to take their places again.
Minassos himself was thrilled by the response to the piece. He named it “Eternal Comfort” and was awarded three “Highly Commended”s and received wonderful reviews by a variety of art critics within months of its creation. By the end of the year he was the proud owner of a first prize in “Classical Modern Sculpture” from the central Italian government in their national competition to encourage new talent and earned him prize money that was treble his normal income for the year.
The piece even went ‘on tour’ (with some of his others) to five other galleries across Europe before returning to rest in Gajeta. Minassos was feted along with his creation and soon found himself with so much commissioned work that he really was struggling to keep up the pace and had to turn several things down. It was a wonderful change!
The statue’s figures were amazed by all the attention, though enjoyed being home the most. For the angel couple the stress of their nightly work with the sick and the distressed was offset by the return to the small grotto in Gajetta’s open air art feature as they relaxed against each other in their permanent embrace for the following day.
Some time in the tenth year after Sunnydale’s demise, Giles and Willow visited Gajeta again and both had strange dreams, or visitations, they weren’t really sure. The following morning Giles spoke to the wiccan over breakfast and was rather thrown. They had both seen the same thing a winged Xander and winged Spike – the two as angels smiling at them… In the end they decided it was just some sort of collective grief brought on by the anniversary of Xander’s passing nearly six years previously.
The angels were the main attraction at the gallery, posed with or in front of by thousands of tourists each year – the popularity of magnificent angels’ forms hugging helping to boost the popularity and reputation of the gallery’s entire collection.
Spike and Xander’s ‘grotto’ was warm in the day, and the tedium of standing eased by their stone state. There was no more pain from old injuries, no hunger and no fatigue. And the stillness of each day afforded them a chance to rejuvenate energy for the coming night. Their permanent hug truly was Eternal Comfort.
When the tug occurred, as it always did nightly, the two angels checked the area, shook out their feathers hard then took off into the night, soaring high above Gajeta – sometimes stealing a kiss mid air before answering the tug and performing their designated duties for the night.
They might be compelled to do good deeds and condemned to their white marble forms of a daytime, but they had each other for eternity. Their lovemaking was passionate and enhanced by two sets of wings. And if the lovers of art had looked closely enough, they would notice the contented smile on both angels’ faces as they embraced each day, the expression only obscured by the fact that faces were tucked into each others’ necks.
And the Powers smiled too.